Traveling is fun, but it can also be quite risky, particularly if you’re not doing your best to stay safe. But if that sounds a bit ambiguous, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here with some great tips on what you can do regarding safety.
Check where you’re going
It’s best to know exactly where you’re traveling to, particularly if you’re going abroad. There might be specific needs for vaccination before going, or there might be things you’re allergic to in your hotel room. It’s also good to check the water sources and make sure it’s safe to drink tap water.
Besides this, there might be some specific laws and local customs you need to respect. Otherwise, you could put yourself in jeopardy, risk a fine or jail.
Visit your GP
You need a clean bill of health before more extensive traveling, which is why it’s important to do a general consult beforehand. Besides, they might offer a unique insight into your condition, as well as some general traveling rules.
It’s also important to check with your GP if you’re ill or if you had a surgery recently. There might also be a need special precautions if you’re pregnant or if you have a weak immune system. Either way, you should take both the medicine and the advice of your doctor.
Pack the essentials
You should always plan for the things you need most depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing there. For instance, if you’re planning a winter hike, you absolutely need a four-season tent so you don’t freeze to death.
But if that seems obvious, some other things aren’t, like the best camping cooler if you’re doing some cooking and you need to keep your food fresh for longer. You should also pack some survival equipment just in case too, including:
- Waterproof matches
- A satellite phone
- A GPS
- A few carabineers, some tarp, and rope if you’re hiking
- A water purifier
- A multi-tool
Dressing smart isn’t just a matter of feeling comfortable, it’s also a matter of safety. For instance, baggy clothes that chafe your skin produce irritations that might swell and become minor injuries. On the other hand, very tight clothes restrict blood circulation, while tight shoes will hurt your feet so that you might find it difficult to walk.
Besides this, you need to pack clothes that keep you warm and insulated, but which are also moisture-wicking and breathable. The best such materials are merino-wool and synthetic fabrics because they don’t absorb moisture, which is particularly risky when the temperature is very low because of possible hypothermia.
Conversely, dressing too warm might also prove dangerous, particularly for infants who can become overheated and suffer brain damage.
Get your first aid kit
Make sure you pack a first aid kit with medicine, bandages and other items you think might be useful depending on where you’re going. For instance, if you’re outdoors you need to make sure you have enough bandages and gauges to treat splinters or splints.
Conversely, if you’re staying indoors, you might need anti-allergy medication or supplies that treat common household injuries, like cuts. Apart from that, you’ll need to make sure that these items aren’t past their expiration date, as well as to take your specific medication if you’re prescribed any.
That’s why it’s well to think ahead about what potential illnesses you can get by traveling in a specific place, and find out how to treat those. A few first aid skills might do you a world of good too in emergency situations.
Learn outdoor survival skills
This is literally a life-saver for most wilderness trips, considering you never know what might actually happen. The basic things you’ll need to learn are:
- How to build an emergency shelter using a tarp, leaves, and branches
- The triangulation method that uses a map and compass to render your position
- How to use your emergency whistle to signal your position
- How to send specific signals in case you get lost
- How to pack your food safely so you don’t attract wild animals
- What you can do in case you’re being attacked by a wild animal
- How to treat minor injuries or afflictions like altitude sickness
Learn how to deal with urban emergencies
There is plenty of research to be done for urban emergencies as well, particularly in a foreign country. This includes:
- Learn a few words in that country’s language so you can ask for help.
- Know where the emergency exits are at all times.
- Wear an emergency whistle in case you’re being attacked.
- Don’t walk alone on empty, dark streets at night.
- Learn a few first-defense techniques so you can defend yourself.
- Find out what to do in case you’re being attacked by stray dogs, which means avoid running and look for shelter.
- Read the general guidelines regarding fire-safety or what to do in case of an earthquake
- If you’re traveling to a location that’s prone to floods, hurricanes or volcanic eruptions, learn what to do in these cases too.
- Learn a few survival techniques in case you’re trapped in a building because of a natural disaster.
Protect your health during the trip
That encompasses a wide array of protective measurements and preventive behaviors, with the most significant of them being:
- Put on sunscreen, wear sunglasses and a large-brimmed hat to make sure you’re safe from the dangerous UV rays.
- Stay indoors at noon if you’re traveling to a country where the mid-day temperatures are sky-rocketing.
- Make sure it’s safe to drink and to eat the food offered.
- Don’t eat mushrooms or plants you’ve never seen before if you’re hiking.
- Use special equipment for outdoor activities, even if you’ve done that before.
How to stay safe
The best advice we could give you is to do a thorough research before you’re traveling so you can find out everything you can about your destination and itinerary. But we’re curious to hear your input: where are you traveling? What have we missed? Leave us a comment below.
Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favorite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another of her passion is the ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for HikingMastery.com.